How to Keep Motivated After Receiving a "No"


Job searching is a job in itself. Determining if you like a company’s values, benefits, salary, and job duties are just a few details to evaluate when job hunting. That’s why it’s such a relief when you finally settle on a few companies and roles that match what you want, and you secure some interviews.

The thing is, what happens when you receive that dreaded email? The one that says the company you applied for is moving on with another candidate. The clear answer is to continue your job search and not let one “no” break your spirit.

However, sometimes it’s hard to think past that email. Whether this is your first rejection or the sixth, it can feel utterly demotivating. Not only that, but you also question whether your skills and experience are good enough. It’s a vicious thought process that can negatively impact your job search, and worsen if imposter syndrome sets in.

To keep motivated on your job search journey, try a few of the tips below.

1. Use different job boards

Different job boards offer different varieties of job listings. One job site may display more tech-focused jobs, while another focuses on medical positions. It’s also good to switch between the job boards if you feel as if you’re not finding as many listings as you would like. Expanding your search will open your eyes to more possibilities and break up the monotony of scrolling through the same positions every day. A great way to stay on top of available positions is by setting alerts for specific job roles. Don't forget to utilise your network and connections, too. Many roles have been secured away from the computer.

2. Talk to a Career Coach

Let’s face it - sometimes you have to pivot strategies, and understanding where to begin is challenging. Do you want to stay in the same career field? Do your skills match the positions that you’re applying for? These are questions that you can ask during a career coaching session. That way, you can receive unbiased feedback from someone with a lot of expertise in everything regarding careers. It can also be helpful to share the journey with someone, to help you feel supported along the way.

3. Take some time away

If job hunting is bringing you to an unhealthy place mentally, you may need to take a step back. This doesn’t mean that you’re giving up. It just means that you recognize your need for some mental self-care. Constantly experiencing imposter syndrome or feeling as if you’re stagnant in your career can truly affect your mental well-being. Feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, and depression are all emotions people who’ve been job searching can experience. So, be on the lookout for these mental health triggers, and don’t let a job denial determine your worth or value in this world.

4. Interview practice

If you find yourself on the receiving end of that dreaded “no” more than a few times, consider doing some interview prep. Rejections can leave you unsure of yourself and your abilities, and cause your confidence to waver during interviews. Brush up on your interview skills by searching for online resources that will give you insight into commonly asked interview questions, proficient answers to these prompts, and things that you can ask the interviewer afterward. Practicing out loud with a friend or a Career Coach can help you to feel more organised, confident, and motivated.

5. Remember your skills

It’s easy to get discouraged, but you have to remember what you bring to the table. Getting denied a role doesn’t mean that you should think less of the skills that you offer. You are more than your CV, so if a company doesn't see that, then it just wasn’t meant to be at that time. It may actually be a good thing because they have assessed the fit wasn't there, which is probably best for you in the long run, too. That doesn’t mean that it will be the same outcome for every employer, nor does it mean that there aren’t better opportunities for you in the future.

Getting a “no” from a company that you’ve applied to is something that most job seekers have had to experience at least once, so don’t think that you’re alone. Assess what you can learn from the experience, take that forward into your next application and interview, keep motivated and remember that you got this.

Photo by Edmond Dantès from Pexels

Alice Stapleton

About Alice

Alice coaches those who want to change career but don’t know what they want to do instead. She offers Career Coaching designed to help graduates, early to mid-level career-changers, and parents returning to work gain a clear vision of what career is right for them, and how to achieve it. She is also an accredited Coach Supervisor, and host of The Career Change Diaries podcast.